The important decisions of important entities do not usually go hand in hand with the urgencies or forecasts of fans and, especially, journalists.
Sometimes, the news seems premature: not many of us expected announcements regarding the applications for the Olympic Games that will take place in 13 years!!!
Sometimes, the news seems to be delayed: almost as if the conflict in Gaza was pausing any discussion about permissions or sanctions for Olympic committees or athletes from certain countries, we still have no definitions on the subject of Russia-Belarus and Paris 2024. It is clear that there will be no official presence, nor flags or anthems of those countries, but everything else is open to discussion.
Sometimes, the news is that you have to wait a little longer, because not everything is in the hands of the IOC. It happens with the resolution of the TAS, the specter of the expulsion of IBA from the Olympic world, another step in the conflict that infects Olympic boxing.
Sometimes, the news comes in a timely manner. No less than four years, they need several of the five sports that will be added in Los Angeles 2028 to strengthen their global influence, if that were really possible.
The continuity of boxing in the Olympic program is still unknown. At the 141st session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held in Mumbai (India), in which the addition of five new sports (baseball/softball, squash, cricket, lacrosse and flag football) was approved, Thomas Bach assured that if he were in Angeles 2028 he would be without the International Association (IBA), although he left some questions.
“Following the decision of the IOC Session to withdraw recognition from the International Boxing Association (IBA), the IOC has not recognized another governing body of Olympic boxing. Therefore, any decision on the inclusion of boxing in the LA28 sports program is put on hold”, the organization said.
Bach, president of the IOC, made his position clear again and there is no going back: “There will be no boxing with the IBA in the Olympic program. It’s done. End point. For us, the case is closed.” IBA was expelled as a member of the IOC, but it appealed to the TAS and on November 16 they will observe the case.
The IBA, chaired by the Russian Umar Kremlev, was suspended in 2019 due to financial irregularities, an investigation into fights settled in Rio 2016 and the lack of transparency in governance. “We gave them four years, they have not met the conditions set by us,” Bach said, noting: “The way they are expressing themselves now and how they are behaving does not give hope for improvement.”
After taking away from the IBA the possibility of organizing the qualifying tournaments for the Olympic Games, the IOC was in charge of carrying out the process for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024. And so far the “hand” of the organism seems to have reached. “We can’t do this forever,” Bach acknowledged and explained: “We want to have it, but we have to find a way of how and with whom.”
Who? is what World Boxing seeks to answer. The new Federation, which emerged in April with GB Boxing and USA Boxing as leaders to keep boxing within the Olympic program, seeks recognition from the IOC and will have its opening congress with elections on November 24 and 25 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Little by little, World Boxing joined Federations that decided to leave the International Association in search of that recognition from the IOC, although, as Bach himself emphasized, “for the moment it does not have sufficient global representation. It’s too soon. I don’t know if they have 20 Federations. Once they are making progress there, we are ready to discuss other issues, such as that governance is in order, that the elections are being held democratically, etc. Right now it’s up to them to organize.”
During the IOC Assembly in Mumbai, the president of Los Angeles 2028, Casey Wasserman, referred to the possibility of having the sport in the Olympic program: “Boxing really has a great history in the Olympic Games and in the United States, so we would love to see boxing in the program, but obviously it is a decision that will be taken by the IOC and its members given the complexities that exist with the Federation. We are hopeful, but all we can do is wait for the answer.”